Cannabis is known by many names, often depending on where one lives and with which cultural group one identifies. Some of those names may include marijuana, grass, pot, dope, Mary Jane, weed, hash, joints, brew, reefer, cones, smoke, mull, buddha, ganja, hydro, yarndi, herb, and green.
The agreed international term is cannabis. Although cannabis and marijuana have been used interchangeably for many years, the U.S. and Australian Standard Classification of Drugs of Concern does not include the term marijuana. There are a number of important reasons that the term “cannabis” was favoured over that of “marijuana”.
The Cannabis plant
Cannabis is a genus of flowering plants that includes a number of species including Cannabis Sativa. There is no plant named “marijuana”, so from a botanical point of view, “cannabis” is the correct term.
Cannabis is used in three main forms: herbal, hashish and hash oil. Marijuana is a term used to describe the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Although the herbal is the least potent of all the cannabis products, it is usually smoked and is the most widely available and most usually used.
The other two products are not as popular and are much less likely to be currently used in Australia. Hashish is made from the resin (a secreted gum) of the cannabis plant. It is dried and pressed into small blocks and smoked. Like the dried flowers and leaves, it can also be added to food and eaten. Hash oil, the most potent cannabis product, is a thick oil obtained from hashish and is also smoked.
Marijuana, therefore, is a term used to describe only one of the cannabis products available and therefore is not inclusive of all products in the class.
Beyond the basic name classification difference
We now know that calling a cannabis plant a marijuana plant is technically not correct, there are other reasons why calling it cannabis instead of marijuana would be proactive. The small minds of humanity have unfortunately been tainted by the propaganda.
There once was a man named Hearst who was quite committed to the prohibition of marijuana, which threatened his timber investments. He used his control of hundreds of newspapers to orchestrate a vicious propaganda campaign against cannabis. Print ads featured
His print ads featured lurid and completely false stories about black and brown men committing outrageous acts of murder and mayhem under the influence of the drug. That campaign took advantage of the then-predominantly racist public opinion, ultimately leading to the federal prohibition of “marijuana” in 1937.
Ever since “marijuana” has come to be associated with the idea that cannabis is a dangerous and addictive intoxicant. It’s exactly this stigmatizing image which has played such a huge role in blocking cannabis legalization efforts throughout the U.S.
If the word marijuana is a weapon, then word cannabis is a shield. “Marijuana” is now sadly associated with hate and fear, while “cannabis” is associated with love and confidence. Even when used by prohibitionists, the word cannabis is itself a kind of medicine. No matter the spin, it is a word with a long and glorious history. And now you have more knowledge of the beloved plant and its proper name usage. Nobody wants to be a “Dave”
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